How to complain

Contact the business about your complaint

We want to help you make your complaint to the right place, so you can sort it out fast. This page explains how to complain about different financial issues.

Contact the business about your complaint

The first step you should take to resolve a complaint is to contact the business that holds your account or sold you the product or service, and explain the problem. You can do this by phone, in person, or in writing.

Make a formal complaint to the business

If you're not satisfied with the answer from the business, or if the problem can't be sorted out, ask the business for their complaints handling procedure or look for it on their website.

Formal complaints should be made in writing, so in your letter or email you should:

  • include the word 'complaint' in the heading or subject line
  • include your name, contact details and the date
  • set out the problem clearly and stick to the facts
  • include copies of relevant documents such as receipts or invoices. Keep the originals and a copy of your complaint letter.

If you don't receive a response in a reasonable time or you're unhappy with their response, you can approach an independent complaints scheme

Sample complaint letters

Here are some sample complaint letters about financial services that you can use as a guide:

Sample letter of complaint about insurance (RTF, 31KB)

Sample letter of complaint about financial advice (RTF, 31KB)

Sample letter of complaint about bank account (RTF, 22KB)

The Financial Rights Legal Centre also have a sample letter generator to help you create professional and legal letters to send to financial service providers like banks, creditors and insurance companies. Letters about credit, debt and banking are only applicable in NSW, but the insurance-related letters can be used all over Australia.

Help for Indigenous consumers

For help with making your complaint, you can contact ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365 957 or the following Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumer organisations:

For more information and advice about making a complaint, see a financial counselloror a financial capability worker.

Contact the independent complaints scheme

Nearly all financial services, energy, water and telecommunications businesses belong to an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme. The EDR scheme hears complaints for free and can be a simpler alternative to resolving disputes in court.

An EDR scheme can help you if:

  • you are not happy with the business' answer to your complaint
  • the business makes you an offer you are not satisfied with
  • the business does not respond to your complaint within a reasonable time.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)

On 1 November 2018, a single EDR scheme, known as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).

The old schemes will continue to deal with complaints received before 1 November 2018. If you have a question about an existing complaint, contact the dispute resolution scheme handling your claim.

For more information about the new scheme, see ASIC's media release, or contact AFCA on 1800 931 678.

Utilities

If your utility provider won't help you, you can complain to one of the ombudsman schemes below. Energy and Water Ombudsman Services in each state provide advice and conciliation services for consumers with complaints about energy or water providers.

Complaints about consumer goods and services

State government agencies can help with complaints about consumer goods and services.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has a complaint letter generator available on their website. Use this tool to create a letter of complaint to send to the business you purchased the product or received the service from.

Complaints about prices and competition

The ACCC (ACCC) and the state government agencies listed above can help with complaints about prices, competition, unfair market practices, product safety, franchises and advertising. You can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

Reporting scams and financial misconduct

If your complaint involves a scam, visit What to do if you've been scammed for information on where to report it.

If you believe there has been misconduct relating to the management of a company, its directors or officers, you can lodge a complaint with ASIC.

If you're not sure who to contact about your complaint call ASIC's Infoline on 1300 300 630.

If you're unhappy about the service you are receiving or you aren't sure whether something is illegal, don't be afraid to complain. 


Related links


Last updated: 17 Dec 2018